- Bryon Harris
Sherie Davis - 'My Heart Returns To Me'
Updated: Apr 19
Review by Tempestas Ink
Bob Dylan once said of folk music, “I felt right at home in this mythical realm made up not with individuals so much as archetypes, vividly drawn archetypes of humanity, metaphysical in shape, each rugged soul filled with natural knowing and inner wisdom…It was life magnified.”
The accuracy of this statement has indeed encouraged many to push themselves creatively, and the genre itself, in order to reach the singularity at the heart of that mythical realm. And the genre keeps evolving, while retaining that all-important connect with the listener.
And with her very first album ‘My Heart Returns To Me’, Sherie Davis has conjured up a gem of an aural feast in the realms of folk-rock and Americana that shows us subtle glimpses of the afore-mentioned singularity.
At the time of writing this review, the album – primarily folk-rock and Americana – has already gained a top #13 on the FAI folk charts for the month of January 2023. The sheer versatility and superlative creativity, while simultaneously infusing it with a rustic positivity has had an overall profound effect, as evidenced in its various tracks.
With its title track, ‘My Heart Returns To Me’ immediately hits it off with a typically apt anthemic opening folk-rock number in the key of D, and Davis immediately leaves an indelible mark with her phenomenally impressive contralto vocals, with her topline range stretching from as low as D3 to D5. The D3’s in particular are all rendered with such ease and accuracy that only the few, and very gifted, can. The equally impressive arrangement and lyrical themes and solos (from the mandolin and the violin) do full justice to the sentiments of flight and freedom, which are major recurring themes of the album.
‘Candle’, part protest-hymn and part folk ballad, delves into the pop-rock realm in the key of A major, and is an ode to hope in testing times (‘My candle flickers in the moonlight, Seems like love might survive the night’), one that Bonnie Raitt would be proud of. Davis’s renditions on the flute are enchanting to the core, and provide a mystical touch of humility to the proceedings, with the choral harmonies and multi-tonal aaah’s being effortlessly rendered with a touch of R&B that isn’t out of place.
‘Let’s Love One Another’ is yet another upbeat pop-rock number infused with a touch of country in the key of C major, and again Davis surpasses her vocal range with her notes impeccably hitting the C3’s! The song is themed upon unity amidst diversity, which is just as well expressed in the line ‘Too many of us don’t see eye to eye…I watch astrologers online, they say ‘Stay grounded’…..’ One can detect that touch of the Indigo Girls in this number. And the mandolin solos inject an element of profound joy and simplicity that is one of the hallmarks of the album in general.
‘Life Goes On’ on the other hand, is a slower, experimental, and more introspective take on the realms of life and death and beyond. A slow, yet pleasant acoustic-pop number, it incorporates natural sounds, and features a sampled speech, as part of its arrangement. What also stands out is the chordal structure which is deliciously unorthodox, to the point of virtuosic. The ease at which the keys vary from verse to chorus to bridge with meaningful coherence stands out in this number which is probably the most creative number of the album, based on one’s perspective.
‘Love Is Here’ is a soulful folk ballad that centers around the theme of love amidst harsh realities. The track is purely acoustic, with a touch of the spiritual that is evident in the instrumentation. The flute once again provides a sense of uplift, while the creative arrangement emphasizes the cosmic by keeping the low-end frequencies in check. The result is an excellent example of how instrumentation can heighten a song's emotional impact.
Returning to a midtempo country-rock sound, ‘Simple Life’ is a reflective tribute to the joys of solitude. The lyrics are crafted with a youthful zing and aptly convey the song's contemplative tone. The harmonies are expertly rendered, with Davis's vocals reaching the higher end of her range (as high as E5) in the outro.
Overall, Sherie Davis's debut album is a substantial work of uplifting and introspective compositions that explore life's deepest questions. The dynamic range and socially conscious lyrics that complement the genre make this album a runaway winner.
About Sherie Davis
Releasing her first album, My Heart Returns To Me, in 2021, singer-songwriter, Sherie Davis, has created a substantial work of uplifting, heartening, and inspiring songs that explore life’s deepest questions. Sherie is known for her soaring melodies that range from angelic high notes that dip down to satisfyingly earthy low tones. Her flute playing supports her vocal with an other-worldly purity. Sherie’s socially conscious lyrics explore thought provoking topics such as life after death, hard life lessons, and living in our challenging world of unprecedented events. Her music has been described simply as light-filled folk rock for a hardened world. In addition to her own vocals, rhythm guitar, and flute, Sherie brought together a lineup of talented musicians including Jesse Rhodes, multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer, and co-producer, and Mark Alciati, mandolin and lead guitar player, and many other talented musicians and friends. The combined efforts of these skillful musicians has created a sound that has landed both the album at #13 and Sherie, as an artist, at #21 on the FAI Folk Chart for folk radio for January 2023.
Sherie grew up just outside of Boston, Massachusetts where her musical influences were the Indigo Girls, Sheryl Crow, Patty Griffin, James Taylor, Martin Sexton, and Bonnie Raitt. The result is that her album is a mix of folk rock, heartfelt soul-searching lyrics, and a touch of the cosmic with flute and mark tree chimes.